W.Va. Students Participate in Nation's First Social Studies Fair

April 26, 2013

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Hundreds of students from across West Virginia presented their research projects on various topics Friday as part of the nation’s first and longest-running statewide social studies fair. (Click here for a list of winners.)
The fair, sponsored by the West Virginia Department of Education and conducted at the Charleston Civic Center, is for students in third through 12th grades. Categories include anthropology; economics; geography; political science; psychology; sociology; state and local studies; U.S history; and world history. Students also can compete in the international category by working with two or more students from a school in another country to research a global problem, issue, condition, or historical event.  Student projects include individual and small group presentations. Only two other states, Louisiana and Georgia, have similar events.
“Social studies play an increasingly important role in today’s world where students must develop a greater understanding of the people and events around them,” said state Superintendent Jim Phares. “The fair helps our students to broaden and deepen their understanding of a diverse society.”
Competing students first won their school and county events and placed first in one of seven regional fairs in their respective division, category and project type. Projects are judged on oral presentation; theme and research; display; and abstract. All participants will receive a complimentary book or DVD of Glenville State College’s West Virginia Veterans' Legacy Project. The project is a written and oral collection of the memories, stories, photographs, certificates and memorabilia of West Virginia veterans.
The Social Studies Fair also marks National History Day to further enhance student learning. In addition to traditional fair projects or exhibits, the History Day component includes categories for documentaries, performances, websites, and research papers. As a winner of the National History Day portion of the contest, some students will be eligible to attend the Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest at the University of Maryland at College Park in June. This is where the best National History Day projects from across the United States, American Samoa, Guam, International Schools and Department of Defense Schools in Europe all meet and compete.
The Social Studies Fair is designed to recognize and reward outstanding achievements of social studies students and encourage students to practice 21st century skills, including information and communication skills; critical thinking and problem-solving skills; and interpersonal and self-directional skills.  
The West Virginia Department of Education started the fair in 1977 in conjunction with Marshall University and with input from a group of West Virginia social studies teachers. The first fairs were in Huntington and were later moved to Charleston.  
For more information, contact Joey Wiseman, social studies coordinator for the West Virginia Department of Education, at (304) 558-5325 or the Office of Communication at 304- 558-2699. Also visit the Social Studies Fair website at http://www.wvssfair.com for additional details.

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